LUBBOCK, Texas — As temperatures drop, Lubbock Fire Rescue said on Monday that calls related to carbon monoxide poisoning rise, and that’s what the department has seen in recent weeks.

“This time of year, it’s actually more common than we would like, and we tend to see a spike the first few times a year when people start firing up those heating appliances,” said Deputy Chief Nick Wilson with Lubbock Fire Rescue.

Five people were sent to the hospital after being exposed to carbon monoxide in central Lubbock on Sunday morning. The incident happened at the Hoff Gardens Apartments on 34th Street.

LFR told everythinglubbock.com that anyone with gas appliances in their home should have a working carbon monoxide detector, because most deadly CO poisoning incidents can be prevented.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that causes flu-like symptoms without the fever, Deputy Chief Wilson explained, adding it’s important that everyone knows how to check their CO detectors.

“Carbon monoxide detectors have a date on them. They’re usually good for 10 years, just like smoke detectors. They also have a button, like smoke detectors, where you can go up and test your carbon monoxide detector to determine if it’s working,” LFR shared.

If anyone needs a second opinion, the department said, “We offer 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, free carbon monoxide checks. So, you can call us — call our non-emergency number and get with us and we’ll come out to your house.”

For those who may not be able to afford a carbon monoxide detector, the city has options.

“There is a program for free carbon monoxide detectors here in Lubbock, and that is for low-to-medium income families. If you think you may qualify for that, you can contact us: firesafety@mylubbock.us. You can email us. You can call the city helpline at 311, or you can go to the MyLubbock app, and you can request either a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector.”

The non-emergency number for Lubbock Fire Rescue is 806-775-2635. If anyone suspects they have been exposed to carbon monoxide, LFR said first, exit the building and then call 911.